You know what it means to get in your own way, don’t you? It is a true phenomenon.
Try to picture this: I’m walking down the street and then I run into myself… how can I run into myself unless I’m divided in such a way that in any given moment I’m on my way to do what something in me says is going to make the moment right, then I run into what the moment says will make it right… and I have a crash?
Here’s a little story to illustrate this idea of getting in our own way: A new person comes onto the job at a construction site near to a public park. The responsibility of the site foreman is to see that everybody is doing the right thing and in the right way. At about 8:30 in the morning, the foreman hears a banging sound, and he sees in a corner this new worker, hammering something.
Forty-five minutes later, the foreman comes out with his cup of coffee and sees that the young man is still banging on something. Now the foreman knows this can’t possibly be right. How can you bang on something for forty-five straight minutes? Putting nails into forms can’t possibly take that long.
So the foreman walks over, and what he sees is that the boy is using the reverse side of a screwdriver. He is actually holding onto the metal, and he’s banging on the nail, trying to put it into the form with the wood end of a screwdriver.
The foreman says to the worker, “Son, what are you doing? You can’t drive a nail into a form with the wood end of a screwdriver! Where is your hammer?”
The boy says, “Well, I left it in my car.”
“Then why don’t you go get your hammer, so you can do this job right?”
“It would take too long to go get it.”
The lesson here is that you must use the right tool for the right job! You don’t know yet what the right tool is for the moments where you run into something, where what you have built in your life starts to fall apart. Instead, you are handed — by a part of you that you don’t know yet — a tool that can’t work.
Start to bring an end to the pain of being in your own way by realizing that your mind cannot fix what is wrong with your heart!
Most everything that we have to say about life and our relationships with others — and how we talk about the part of us that wants to smooth things over, keep them from being disturbed — is a form of saying something nice about what is killing us.
Here’s the bottom line: We just don’t want to go through the pain of doing what’s right when it’s right to do it. That’s the whole shebang.
It isn’t you I’m afraid of, it’s my own pain. It isn’t the condition I don’t want to get in and mess with. I don’t want to get in mess with the parts of me that are going to beat me over the head with threats and all other forms of conditioned reactions.
Everything about your work is bringing you to a point where you understand the need to bear yourself and to do so despite being unable to do it. Then you are upon a cross. Then you go through what is required of you to have your own life.
You cannot have your own life as long as you are afraid of the pain that part of your life produces when you challenge the status quo — whatever that may be for you or in you. This is the point (spiritually speaking) when a man or a woman begins to become serious. They are not afraid anymore of how they’ll be perceived — what they’re going to say, or how it will be understood.
You understand that whatever you are suffering in the moment isn’t because someone doesn’t like you or because something has to be changed and you don’t want to get in and do it. It’s because there’s something in you that doesn’t want to be changed at all. The path to changing that nature is through it — not letting it guide you to what it wants you to do when it wants you to do it — and that’s a big difference.
That’s why a true school is a kind of nurturing ground. It’s a place where a person is just ever so slowly introduced to the fact that something in them never stops running and dancing and finding ways to get through one more situation without having to suffer too intensely. You don’t know how intensely you suffer now from the pretense of being a sweet, good, kind, or otherwise understanding human being! Real understanding never compromises itself for the sake of pain that threatens it.